How to get to central London from Heathrow Airport - The Points Guy (2023)

After a long flight to London Heathrow Airport (LHR), you'll probably want the easiest plan possible to get to your hotel and relax before visiting the world-famous sights of the British capital.

Heathrow is located in Greater London. It is located approximately 25 km from central London, home to the London Eye, the South Bank of the Thames, the shopping paradise of Covent Garden and the famous and bustling Oxford Street, as well as many luxury andpoint-friendly hotels.

Related:Watch us rush to London Heathrow by taxi, Heathrow Express and Elizabeth Line

There are many ways to get to central London and other parts of the cityHeathrow,including taxis, tubes, a special train service called the Heathrow Express and the new, unmistakably purple Elizabeth Line. The best option to travel from Heathrow to London depends on what you are looking for: low price, ease, speed or plenty of luggage space.

Here are the best travel options from Heathrow to London to get you off to a good start.

How to get to central London from Heathrow Airport - The Points Guy (1)

London Underground (also known as Underground)

Heathrow is conveniently located on the Piccadilly line, one of severalpipelinesforming the London Underground. A popular service - run by Transport for London - connects the airport to various locations in central London. Therefore, you may not need to change trains once you reach the city center.

Taking the metro from the airport is probably the cheapest option. However, this may not be the most convenient if you are laden with lots of heavy bags or if you are traveling during peak hours.

Starting with:Terminale 2 i 3 Heathrow,4and 5 metro stations.

Possible destinations:Bezpośrednie wycieczki do Linha Piccadilly, główne parady, Hammersmith, Gloucester Road, South Kensington, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Holborn i King's Cross St.

How to get to central London from Heathrow Airport - The Points Guy (2)

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When is it performed?You can usually expect the subway to arrive at all terminals around 5pm. until 23:30; night services fromTerminal 2 i 3seasons andTerminal 5the station runs on Fridays and Saturdays. Check the scheduleHere.

Movement time:It depends where you're going, but from Terminal 5 it takes around 50 minutes to get to Piccadilly Circus or an hour to King's Cross St. Pancras.

Estimated cost:Single journeys to Zone 1 destinations (such as Piccadilly and King's Cross) cost £5.60 ($7) if you pay contactless or by cardKarta Oyster.Buying a ticket to central London from a machine will cost around £6.70 ($8.29) per person. Children under the age of 11 travel free when accompanied by a paying adult.

If you are departing from Zone 1 (e.g. Hammersmith in Zone 2) there is a lower fare from £2.10 ($2.60) to £3.40 ($4.21), depending on travel time.

Paying for your trip:You have several options to pay for your metro ride or buy a ticket. The most convenient method is to pay with a contactless card by applying it to the yellow card readers located at the entrances to the subway or in front of the platforms.

Yellow card readers can also be accessed with a prepaid Oyster card. They can be purchased at all Underground, Overground and most Elizabeth Line stations for £7 ($8.69). They are also available from most London newsagents and visitor centres. Once you've purchased an Oyster, you can use the ticket vending machines in tube stations to add money to your card for individual journeys or a multi-zone daily or weekly travel card.

Please note that card readers are not always connected to the gateways and are sometimes standalone. Keep an eye on them. If you do not hop-on and hop-off at the start and end of your trip, you will be charged a fare through Zones 1 through 9.

Alternatively, you can buy paper tickets from ticket machines at any Underground, Underground or DLR station. These tickets allow for round trips or daily and weekly travel cards. To use the tickets, insert them into the places marked at the gates, heading for the line you are traveling on.

Some stations also have a staffed kiosk that can be used instead of ticket machines; you can ask for advice on the best tickets or routes to take here.

Elizabeth line

Opened in 2022, the so-calledElizabeth line(also run by TfL) is a fast option to travel to central London with LHR. It strikes a good balance between price and performance. While not as cheap as the Underground, the trains are newer, more spacious, have air conditioning and Wi-Fi. Like the Heathrow Express, these trains stop at Paddington, but there are other destination options as well. The journey takes slightly longer than the Heathrow Express, but is also cheaper.

Starting with:Terminals 2 and 3, train stations 4 and 5.

Possible destinations:OElizabeth linetravels direct from Heathrow to Abbey Wood, serving Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf. See the full map on TfLwebsite here.There are no longer direct services between Canary Wharf and Terminal 5, except for some early morning and late evening services. Trains arriving at Heathrow from the Canary Islands stop at Terminal 4.

When is it performed?Hours vary depending on the terminal and whether you are traveling on a weekday or weekend. Typically, the first trains leave between 5:15 and 6:05, while the last trains leave the airport between 23:46. and 12:13. Find specific timesHere.

Movement time:It depends where you're going. It takes around 35 minutes from Terminal 5 to Paddington or around 45 minutes from Terminals 2 and 3 to Liverpool Street.

estimated cost: The Heathrow website states that any journey to or from the airport starting or ending in Zone 1 costs £12.80 ($15.83) per person. Whether you're using contactless or Oyster, TfL's flat fare finder shows that a single journey on the Elizabeth line from Terminal 5 to Paddington costs £12.20 ($15). The journey from Terminals 2 and 3 to Liverpool Street costs £13.30 ($16.45).

However, these prices are for contactless or Oyster payments only. Buying a paper ticket from ticket machines in stations will cost a bit more, TPG recently discovered, paying £14.30 for an off-peak ticket from Liverpool Street to Heathrow on the Elizabeth Line. In general, although the savings are small, it is better to pay for your journey with a contactless or Oyster card.

Children under the age of 11 travel free when accompanied by a paying adult.

ekspres do Heathrow

The Heathrow Express will be the fastest way to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station. It is a direct train, so there are no extra stops along the way. Additionally, there are luggage racks and sockets for charging phones, which is always useful. For onward journeys, Paddington is well connected to several tube lines. The downside is that the Heathrow Express can be expensive compared to other rail options.

Starting with:Heathrow Station Terminals 2 and 3 and Terminal 5 train station. If you land at Terminal 4, you will need to take the free shuttle service to the station.

Possible destinations:Paddington Station. For an additional fee you can change to the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City or Elizabeth Line tubes.

When is it performed?Usually from 5:10 am to around 12:00 pm, although this can vary. Trains run every 15 minutes. See the full Heathrow Express flight scheduleHere.

Movement time:15 minutes to Paddington from Terminals 2 and 3 or 20 minutes from Terminal 5.

Estimated cost:Usually oneekspres do Heathrowthe journey from Paddington to Heathrow costs £25 ($31) per person, although you can sometimes pay less if you book in advance. If you're from the UK and have a National Railcard, the price can go down to £16.50.

If you don't have a national rail card or you're not from the UK, you can sometimes find discounts online by searching for Heathrow Express vouchers or voucher codes that you can use when booking online.

While the Heathrow Express may be a more expensive rail option, it may be a better deal for families than it sounds as children under 15 travel free when accompanied by a paying adult.

If you return to the airport within a month of purchasing your ticket, an anytime ticket may be cheaper overall at £37 ($45.76) or £24.40 for a National Rail card.


If public transport isn't your thing, or you're landing in the middle of the night when no public transport is running, you can use Uber to get to and from Heathrow Airport and central London. Of course, you will pay more than for a subway or train ride.

Starting with:Short-stay parking at Terminals 2, 3, 4 or 5. Once you've requested a ride and confirmed your driver, the app will tell you where to go, but typically the pick-up locations will be here:

  • Terminal 2 - floor 4, line H (short-stay car park 2).
  • Terminal 3 - floor 3, line A (short-stay car park 3).
  • Terminal 4 - Level 1, private hire pickup.
  • Terminal 5 - Floor 1, Row R (short stay car park 5).

Possible destinations:Direct service wherever you want, which can be an advantage with luggage and tired children.

When is it performed?Theoretically, you can take an Uber anytime.

Movement time:Varies based on traffic, destination, and other factors. (Take note of peak and commute times.) In general, it usually takes around 50 minutes by car to reach Paddington, or an hour to reach Piccadilly Circus from Terminal 5 (on a good day). This means it's not necessarily the fastest option at many times of the day as the Heathrow Express takes just 15 minutes to reach Paddington.

Estimated cost:The cost of Uber depends on traffic, destination and other factors. For example, it can cost £59 ($73) from Terminal 5 to Paddington or £63 ($78) to Piccadilly Circus - both UberX trips, excluding tips.

If you're traveling in a group of more than four or have more than one or two small bags, you'll probably need a bigger car. Expect to pay more for an Uber Lux or Comfort ride.

Related:Everything you need to know about Uber Rewards

Taxis (including black cabs, WeKnow and Addison Lee)

In addition to Uber, there are many other options to take a taxi from Heathrow to London. Options include hailing the iconic black cab at a taxi rank in London, pre-booking an electric car with Heathrow's private transfer service WeKnow, or renting a car from a company like Addison Lee.

The last two options offer a reception service to help you and your luggage right in the car. Addison Lee also requires you to provide your flight number when booking, meaning the company can adjust your trip in the event of a delay. Again, this type of transfer will cost more than train services.

Starting with:Appropriate taxi stand outside Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 for a black taxi. For other services, the pick-up location will be specified in your booking or the driver will be waiting for you at the terminal.

Possible destinations:Again, wherever you want.

When is it performed?Theoretically, you can order a taxi or a car transfer at any time.

Movement time:Varies based on traffic, destination, and other factors. From Terminal 5, it usually takes around 50 minutes to reach Paddington and an hour to Piccadilly Circus. Although Addison Lee estimates the journey to Paddington will take an hour and 10 minutes around 6pm.

Estimated cost:This will vary depending on the type of taxi you choose, as well as other factors such as traffic. Below are some estimates.

  • Taxi then:The counter will start running once the tour starts. TfL, which operates London's black taxis, says the price of a journey from Heathrow to central London could cost between £52 ($64.31) and £97 ($120). Find out more about black taxi faresHere.
  • we know:Prices are fixed, so you'll know how much you'll pay when you book. A trip from Terminal 5 to Paddington or Piccadilly Circus costs between £70 ($86.57) and £94 ($116.25), depending on the size of the car you need. Reception service costs an additional £14.99 ($18.54). UseKalkulator WeKnowto calculate the exact price of the trip.
  • Addison Lee:The prices are fixed, so you will know the price when booking. An example journey from Terminal 5 to Paddington (as soon as possible departs) is priced online at £94.32 ($116.66) or up to £122 ($150.89), depending on the car size required. Meet and Greet is included in both prices. The exact quote can be found on the websiteStrona Addison Leeand enter your flight number and travel details.

Buses (including National Express and Megabus)

National Express and Megabus coaches drop you off at Victoria Coach Station. They are generally inexpensive and often have Wi-Fi and phone charging points. They can also transport your luggage in the luggage hold - checkRestrictions do MegabusmiLimits apply to National Express.

However, buses are not the fastest way to get to central London. Duration depends on traffic, time of day and other factors.

How to get to central London from Heathrow Airport - The Points Guy (3)

Starting with:Heathrow Central Bus Station, located between Terminals 2 and 3, is the fastest departure point for National Express and Megabus trains. If you leave Terminal 4, take the free shuttle bus to the bus station. You can also take the bus from Terminal 5 (look for the Megabus stops on levels 13, 14 and 15 on the arrivals level).

Possible destinations:Victoria bus station. From there it's just a short walk to the Victoria Line station at Victoria Station; the line stops at Green Park, Oxford Circus, Warren Street and King's Cross (extra charge).

When is it performed?National Express buses typically run all day, with intervals between trips ranging from 1 hour to 3 hours and 45 minutes. Check the exact time of your routeHere.More information on the Megabus timetable can be found at:Your side.

Movement time:From Terminals 2 and 3, National Express buses take anywhere from 55 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes to Victoria Coach Station, depending on the time of day. Megabus quotes travel times for the same journey of 45 and 55 minutes.

From Terminal 5, National Express buses take between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour 35 minutes.

Estimated cost:On National Express coaches, a single journey costs from £6 ($7.42) per person. ForAutobus Megabus, a single trip starts at £8 ($9.89).

Other travel options

From Heathrow Central Bus Station (serving Terminals 2 and 3) you can take the 285 local bus to Feltham Rail Station. It's 16 stops from here. From there you can take a train to Waterloo via Clapham Junction which takes 30 or 45 minutes.

Coach fares in London cost £1.75 ($2.16) and train fares start at £8.60 ($10.64) per person. This option is cheaper. However, this is quite long-winded, especially as Waterloo station can be reached from Paddington on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines (with one change to the Jubilee line at Green Park).

For those traveling somewhere in Greater London rather than central London, there are several local bus services available from the airport. see themHere.

The final result

The best way to get from Heathrow Airport to London depends on your budget, how much luggage you have and how much time and effort you are willing to invest in the journey.

If you want to avoid traffic and save money, the Elizabeth Line and subway are your best bets. If you're all about speed, the Heathrow Express is hard to ignore. Do you want to avoid lugging luggage or just want the simplest route from A to B? Consider Uber or taxi.

Additional reporting by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen, Hayley Coyle and Jordan Waller.

Editorial Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the author himself, and not those of any bank, credit card company, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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